“Satan is doing everything he can to discourage you.” These wise words did not come from a book on missions, a veteran missionary, or even an adult! One of the MKs here (Missionary Kids) said this to me yesterday as we were talking about my less-than-great week. On Monday my car broke down, my telephone ran out of minutes, and my home Internet continued to not work.
Discussing car repairs in English is like a foreign language to me. In an actual foreign language…. horrible! Trying to get more minutes, trying to get answers about my internet… equally horrid.Added to my frustration was a feeling of homesickness and the beginnings of culture shock. It seems as if everything I know is suddenly useless. Worse, it’s wrong.
We learned about this at MTI, too. Again, discussing in the abstract being treated like a hapless child is very different from having Dona Gloria fuss me out about the water bill and then talk to her family about the Americana and Muchacha, as if I’m a misbehaving five year old.
I’m sure from her perspective it’s equally frustrating – how can a grown woman not know how to take a shower properly?All of that ‘home stuff’ is exhausting. Then, I get to El Callejon, and everyone I meet is disappointed that I’m not Daisy. Because I’m still learning Dominican Spanish, I can’t blame them for not wanting to talk with me. Daisy has been at the site for more than six years, so of course they want her help.
I’ve been helping lead the Bible portion of our activities, and really enjoy that, but once they all start responding, I still get lost. They look to her to sort out what the Americana is trying to say. My confidence slips further and further away as I watch Daisy easily interact with them.So, saying I’m discouraged is a bit of an understatement! Anna’s words ring true. Satan truly does seem to be doing everything he can to discourage me. He’s got lots of experience, and he knows my weaknesses. And, boy, does he fight dirty, pouncing when I’m already way, way down.
But, God knows my weaknesses, too. In this time of transition and turbulence, He is inviting me to abide in His strength. He is inviting me to take my discouragement and use even it for His glory. I feel displaced and stupid. How often does the world treat women in places like El Callejon in this way? How often do others talk about ‘them’ as if they are somehow lesser?This morning during my quiet time, I sat for the longest time, my prayer journal opened, but my pen not moving. I tried to be thankful for my many (many!) blessings, but all I kept thinking was I’m discouraged and I hate it. Just admitting that was freeing!
In that confession, Jesus met me. Met me and reminded me that He called me here, not because of my strength and skills, but because somehow, through my weakness, I am going to be able to share His love with El Callejon.
Jesus also brought back to mind Anna’s words, but this time, they gave me hope. Satan is trying to discourage me. There must be a reason why he’s putting effort into messing with me.
Could it be… could it possibly be, that even in this sad and pitiful state in which I find myself, I am a threat? Not in my strength – never in my strength! but in the strength of the One who is with me, the One who is living in me?Satan is doing his best to discourage me. Ha! Today I am choosing to be encouraged by those attacks. If God wasn’t with me, Satan would have no reason to be bugging me. Instead, his tactics just prove that the Holy Spirit is at work.
And so, even though this has been a rough week, even though I'm still not sure about lots (and lots!) of stuff here in the D.R., I will choose to put my faith and hope in the One who has defeated Satan. In the One who has called me to live out the Lord’s Prayer, being a part of God’s Kingdom coming, of His will being done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Satan is trying to discourage and attack me. It’s the pits, but it’s also awesome!